Random Street Shots: Briana from Harlem Heights

By the graces of my awesome internship at BET, I had the pleasure of attending a taping of BET & Grey Goose Presents “Rising Icons”. It’s a new show on BET that just recently premiered its first episode this past Monday, July 27th with the profiling of Chrisette Michelle. I believe it airs on Mondays but check here to find out more info about the artists and the tour. Anyway, I was delighted to sit through 3 tapings and therefore 3 mini concerts – Wale, The Dream and Keri Hilson. It was an amazing time and the artists were great. So, of course as I was given the VIP treatment, I had the pleasure of being an audience member and rubbing elbows with the likes of some of BET’s reality TV stars. I happened to run into Briana of Harlem Heights, sassy designer at Victoria Secret and aspiring handbag entrepreneur.

Briana, to the right, on the set of Rising Icons

Anyway, she was dressed to the tee per usual. She had on this really cute pink short-sleeved blazer with gold accessories on the shoulder which I thought was really chic (big shoulders are in yall!). She was also donning a black tutu-esque skirt and these interesting ankle-cuff sandals. I say “interesting” because they almost looked like boots…but not. Anyway, her outfit was fierce. I wonder if that bag she’s wearing is from her new B.Marie handbag line. Check out her designs here – she’s working it!

Soo…ankle-cuff sandal/booties…Fierce or Foolish?

Style Icon: Rihanna in Alexander McQueen

Girlfriend has done it again! That’s right – 2 posts about RiRi in one day..but I couldn’t help it.

Ok so I must shout out one of my besties ShaSha for inspiring this post. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this Alexander McQueen look…on Rihanna…on myself…in general!

What I love about it:

1. Black: I venture to say a girl’s best friend. Anyone just looks utterly chic in a crisp blacks ensemble. It never fails. It looks good on everyone. It’s slimming. It’s always in style. LOVE it.

2. Pearls: I’m not a HUGE fan of pearls, but I certainly appreciate them when they’re done right. And in this case, they’re exquisite. Normally, pearls sweeten up the look, give it more class and sophisitication. But in this case, these layered pearls almost give the look even MORE EDGE! Rihanna takes them to another level with the multi-layers.

3. Lace, fingerless, elbow-length gloves: LOVE, LOVE LOVE. As morbid as black lace can be, Rihanna again gives them some spice by rocking them fingerless. Now I need a pair. Tempted to cut up my lace tights and wrap them around at the ELBOWS!! (I won’t, I promise…..at least not in public hehe)

4. Red lips: If there is anything I’m usually against, it’s a strong red lip. It’s just not my style..I’m more of a tinted lipgloss kinda girl. BUT, these statement lips look absolutely stunning on Rihanna. Especially considering the rest of her ensemble is virtually colorless…red lips really make the look POPand bring the Old Hollywood meets New-School Sexy look together.

Verdict: FIERCE…not up for discussion. (j/k)

"Shear" Fever: Where did all the hair go??

What is it about 2009 that is making everybody cut off all their hair? I’ve had 2 great friends cut their hair within the past 6 months and countless celebrities have caught the fever as well. Many attribute the shift in trends to pioneers like Halle circa the early 90’s. But did the dearly beloved Rihanna re-invent the craze that seems to be amplifying as the year 2009 goes on?? I mean, I feel like I should jump on boat and chop it off too…only I think I’d probably cry.

Anyway, here are some recent celebrity chops:

That’s right, our favorite first lady Ms. Michelle Obama got herself a short trim…

Chrisette Michelle, R&B soulstress sportin a short cut…

Tell a friend! Ms. Ciara, the queen of long, bone-straight hair…has a SHORT cut

I really couldn’t believe this one…I don’t like it! I feel like long, flowy fits her face better. Is it just me?

Former Destiny’s Child Member Michelle Williams and her new cut…

Love her! Ms. Toccara Jones, former ANTM contestant, now BET correspondent.

So many cuts…so little time. I might have to ponder my decision to chop my own hair off a little further…more details to come!

Fierce or Foolish: Shaved Hair

So I ran across a recent picture of the one and only Ms. Solange Knowles. And it appears she’s caught the “shear” fever along with numerous other celebrities this year. But Ms. Knowles didn’t just cut her hair a little…she cut it ALL! I dunno about this. If you ask me, sista-girl needs a good shape up. Or maybe more than just a shape up..what yall think? Fierce or Foolish?

Vogue Italia: Black Barbie Issue

We’re still making moves y’all! Just last Thursday I was raving about this year’s 1st Annual Arise Africa Fashion Week. And NOW, Italian Vogue has released the first ever issue dedicated to Black Barbie. Gotta love those Italians. I’ve been to Italy, it’s an amazing country and consistent with popular belief they LOVE black women.

Anyway, for those of you who were under a bush last year (just kidding), Italian Vogue was the very first mainstream fashion magazine to launch an all-black issue:

All black models throughout the entire publication..I absolutely loved it! And the trail-blazing issue was released on newsstands with 4 different covers: one each of 4 amazing & trailblazing models – Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez & Jordan Dunn. I have 3 of the 4 issues (complete in shrink-wrap!). I was fortunate enough to have a best friend studying abroad in Italy last summer who could snag me a copy when it first came out. And once they hit the US, I got 2 more.

Well, just one year and one black US president after, we have July 2009’s issue of Italian Vogue complete with black barbies of all shades, complexions and characteristics. The Barbies are said to be designed with “more authentic-looking black features, including . . . fuller lips, a wider nose, more distinctive cheekbones and curlier hair,” explains Franca Sozzani, Italian Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this issue!

Leather Shorts: Fierce or Foolish?

So this little question was sparked upon flipping through one of my monthly fashion mags. I stumbled upon a spread about leather shorts:

Now as an avid supporter of MOST things leather, I started to think about the possiblities of rocking this trend in the summer time. You know, cute chiffon-y flirty top and edgy platform heels. But then I thought about it…it’s SUMMER…and shorts are supposed to keep you cool. Leather on a hot sweaty day? Not so much…. but what about winter?? Again, it’s a Catch 22. They’re leather, yes, sp appropriate for cold weather. HOWEVER, they’re still shorts!!

So then I got to thinking about fashion and I started to realize how much the fashion industry has turned items that used to be just “utility” items, into pieces that compliment an outfit, but make absolutely no sense to wear given the circumstances.

What do you think – Fierce or foolish?

ESPY Awards Fashion Countdown

Ok people, I know how much you guys love the countdowns! I just got my hands on some Red Carpet Photos from the ESPY Awards in L.A last night. Here are my Top 5 Best & Worst:

5. BEST – Carmello Anthony

SO you guys know I’m not an expert when it comes to Men’s Fashion, however Carmello really stepped up his game last night. I’m not mad at him at all for this Turquoise & White linen ensemble. The brown tie is a nice touch!

4. WORST – Lisa Leslie

Now, now Lisa….just because you play for the WNBA does NOT mean you don’t have to keep up with the trends! When, pray-tell, was the last time you saw this particular silhouette on the Red Carpet?? Circa 1996? Black – love this color. Floor length- love that too. But slim-fitted, boat-necked, with no particular detailing and little subtle SPARKLES all around. And let’s not even talk about the shoes…SHEESH! Word to the wise: If you’re a tall glass o’ water like Lisa Leslie, play up your strengths by showing off those legs in a 3/4-length dress or skirt ensemble. Stay away from slim-fitted and floor length dresses circa 1996….

3. BEST – Venus Williams

Ms. Venus was TRULY looking like a goddess at the ESPY Awards last night. This AMAZING Mara Hoffman maxi-dress was appropriate for the occasion, for the season, and for her body shape. Gotta love it! The accessories are just perfect – not too much and not too little. Her hair is simple yet graceful and placed to one side, an excellent choice considering how attention-grabbing her dress already is. And the makeup is just perfect. I love everything about it. I WANT this dress…and the hair. FIERCE!

2. WORST – Vanessa Bryant

So this is a perfect example of the phrase “If you got it, flaunt it” gone terribly WRONG. Boobs popping out of the SEAMS, though?? TOO MUCH! And she had the nerve to sport a sparkly ill-fitting one piece jumper?? With cutouts?? Let’s PAUSE right there for a little word of wisdom: One-piece jumpers are not for everyone. For that matter, one piece jumpers with CUTOUTS and SPARKLES are not for everyone….just had to throw that out there. Vanessa, I know you have one of the hottest men in the industry on your arm, but PLEASE step your fashion game up.

1. BEST – Serena Williams

Serena, my dear…what can I say? I’m speechless! She looks absolutely STUNNING in this dress. Color that compliments the skin – check! Silhouette that accentuates her amazing body – check! Hair and makeup ON POINT – check!

Ms. Serena looks like she OWNS this Awards show. I mean, we all know she’s the flyyest in the Tennis game but please don’t sleep on her fashion sense (or that of her stylist). Kudos to her stylist if she had one. I’m sure her stylist probably had something to do with Venus as well. The Williams sisters stole the show last night.

Props and nuff ree-speck!

Arise Africa Fashion Week: Well, it’s about TIME!

We’re making moves!! Last year – we got the first ever all-black issue of Italian Vogue. This January – America voted in it’s first-ever African-American President. And NOW, Africa has its own Fashion Week! Although those 3 things are definitely not on the same scale of importance (Obama trumps them all), this new wave of recognition for the black community in all aspects of pop culture gets me excited. Arise Africa Fashion Week took place last month from June 12th – June 19th. The organization responsible for the event is African Fashion International in conjuction with Arise Magazine.

Arise is the first global magazine dedicated to achievements in African fashion, music, culture and politics. I didn’t even know it existed until today!

While the Africa Fashion Week culminated in Johannesburg, South Africa, the shows took place in all different African countries that week including: Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethipia, Mozambique, and many more. This year’s Africa Fashion Week marked the inaugural beginning of an annual event which will feature African designers from around the Continent, showcasing their talent:

Love the vibrant colors on this peice.

Yellow & floor-length: such a cool combination

This looks so well-crafted…like it took months to make

I guarantee you nobody will be walking into the ball with this dress on…so unique. Look at those sleeves!

Needless to say, I’m just ecstatic about Africa Fashion Week. ESPECIALLY considering how so many of today’s designers take their inspiration, in terms of shapes and concepts as well as prints and patterns, from the Motherland. I only hope that one day I, too,will have the opportunity to sit front row and center at one of these amazing shows! Click here to find out more about Africa Fashion Week and Arise Magazine

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Zara Sale!!

So, for those of you who are actively searching for the next SALE or the latest bargains, please direct your attention to ZARA this week! Their SALE actually started 2 weeks ago, however I never shop Zara Sale within the first week because (although the pickins might be fresh) the inventory doesn’t get priced LOWEST until the last few weeks of the sale. The way Zara operates is unlike many other retailers. They hardly ever go on SALE. In fact, their sales are only twice a year: once in Winter (after Christmas) and once in Summer (always late June/early July). They have these very unique retailing operations – they change over their inventory extremely QUICKLY. So for those of you who’ve visited a Zara, saw something SO cute and thought you would come back in 2 weeks and still see it there – it often doesn’t work like that. Once Zara is sold out of a certain item, it doesn’t come back. They refresh the store with brand new inventory to keep the customer guessing.

Anyway, if you live near a location, now’s the time to stop by. They’re in the final weeks of summer SALE and they have amazing dresses for $20-$50, Boyfriend blazers under $40, and much more. Get it while you can because they won’t be on SALE again till Christmas!!